It's About Using Mediums

Monday, January 31, 2011

At some point in time we have all used social media. Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter just to name a few. These mediums have different uses. Facebook is about keeping in contact with people you know, MySpace allows musicians to upload music to gain fans, and Twiiter is for celebrities to say where they are going for dinner. Not necessarily. In his blog Robert Hernandez discusses that it isn't about the social medium being used but rather about the way in which it is used. When I found out I had to open a Twitter account for my Beginning Newswriting and Reporting class I wasn't thrilled. To me Twitter was one of the dumbest mediums people could use. I don't care where someone is, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with. It seems to me Twitter gets a bad rap thanks to all the celebrities out there talking about shallow nonsense. In the past month that I have been using Twitter I've found it is actually a pretty cool medium. No I don't Tweet that my friend and I went to Maurices but about the goings on in the world of journalism. Sometimes I also Tweet about what's going on in the world. While I was looking for stories to Tweet about I found articles about flooding in parts of Brazil. Had it not been for Twitter, and my classwork, I would most likely have never found out about the situation there. After posting I gained a follower. What I'm saying is keep an open mind about new mediums, you never know what you can learn from it.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress


Speak and Tweet in Egypt

President Hosni Mubarak has had his hands full in Egypt since last Tuesday. Citizens have been outraged and want to kick Mubarak out of power. Many Egyptian protesters are upset about not receiving many things from the government, including their freedom and internet.

Last week, the Egyptian government put a blackout on all internet usage. Government officials felt like this would be a beneficial way to block the outside world from seeing what's going on and from protesters organizing groups via Internet. With the websites blocked, journalists were in a world of hurt, as they were unable to communicate, surf, or report through Google, Facebook, Twitter, or BlackBerry Services.

However, Google and SayNow have provided hope for many reporters to share news once again. They developed a way for people currently in the Egypt area to tweet via phone on Speak-To-Tweet. Users have been given the option of three numbers to leave a voice mail to, which will be turned into a tweet under the hashtag of #Egypt or #speak2tweet.

Imagine being an Egyptian writer unable to report some of the biggest protests in your country. Journalists want to recreate stories so viewers can connect to current events. Many reporters in Egypt currently feel relieved to be provided with a way to do their job.

As journalists, this is a good time for Egyptian reporters to practice reporting news by observation instead of relying on the internet for news. Egyptian queen Cleopatra once said, "I will not be triumphed over." Many reporters should take this advice and realize there is always a way to get the job done and report globally what is going on.

Photo Credit: Nima Maleki


Throwback Technology in Times of Need

As most of you have heard that Egypt has practically been shut down from technology. Protestors are running amok in Cairo freeing themselves from the rules of President Hosni Mubarak. They're calling for the resignation of their president who has made their lives more complicated when it comes to providing and feeding their families. There are many images of the chaos in Cairo being broadcasted via Internet by the region's popular satellite channel Al Jazeera; Protestors are seen ignoring curfew, running through the streets, clashing with tear gas-wielding police, and even setting buildings on fire.

This event is not just a big deal in the country of Egypt; Mohamed Nanabhay, the head of Al Jazeera online, said via Twitter that nearly 45% of the traffic to the site's Egypt coverage has come from the United States. You may also view coverage of the live video on CNN's website.

While us Americans watch from the "sidelines", Egyptians are finding ways to communicate around the Internet blockage; they're currently using old-fashioned landlines (yeah those still exist!), faxes and even ham radio. People are also being offered dial-up from Telecomix News Agency and activists have been recieving morse code. For all you 21st century technology junkies, yes all those things still exist and no matter how painfully slow they seem to you and me, anything is better than nothing.

Photo Credit: Ramy Raoof via Creative Commons.


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